As the NFL moves into Week 10, we recap where every team ranks in relation to the rest of the league and discuss the key stories surrounding their respective seasons. Where does your team rank in this weeks hierarchy?
1. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1)
The 33-31 victory over the Carolina Panthers wasn’t secured until the Panthers missed a 67-yard field goal attempt on the final play. Now the score turned out to be closer than anticipated, but they did what good team are supposed to do, beat inferior teams. To the Panthers credit, they threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Chiefs to pull the upset. Keeping the ball away from Pat Mahomes, winning the time of possession 38 minutes to 22. In the end, it didn’t matter because Mahomes still found a way to throw another 4 TDs. But heading into the bye this week, they still look like the defending champions and will be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0)
Wins are never easy in the NFL, even when you’re heavily favored to win. The Pittsburgh Steelers this past week are a living testament to that fact. Facing the traveling circus, the Dallas Cowboys, the Steelers on paper were supposed to easily in the game but barely squeaked out a 24-19 victory to remain the leagues only unbeaten team. Much of the Steelers’ success this season and last week can be attributed to their top 5 defense. With the offense being up and down all year, the defense has been the one to either carry them to victory or, at the very least, keep things within arms reach for Big Ben and the offense. This week they face rookie quarterback Joe Borrow who’s offensive line has allowed the 4th most sacks all season. So even if the Steelers offense comes out the gate slow, expect the defense to do the heavy lifting once again and keep their perfect record alive.
3.New Orleans Saint (6-2)
Run it up!
In what was one of the more anticipated divisional rematches so far this season, the New Orleans Saints flexed their muscle and beat the brakes off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Most expected as close, even matchup, but it quite frankly looked easy for the Saints all game. With All-Pro wide receiver Micheal Thomas back in the fold, the Saints offense looked like a machine. Drew Brees found 12 different receivers while tossing 4 TDs on the night. In contrast, the Saints defense handed Tom Brady probably his worst performance as a pro, forcing 3 interceptions. It’s crazy how one player returning can just ignite the engine of an entire team, but the return of Thomas seemed to give the team a whole new swagger. Next up the San Francisco 49ers, who just let Rodgers torch them for 4 TDs as well. Expect the Saints to easily keep on marchin’ this week.
4. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
Step in the right direction.
This past week the Baltimore Ravens improved to 6-2, defeating the Indianapolis Colts 24-10. This was not the most dominant performance by a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Still, clearly, they are moving things in the right direction. QB Lamar Jackson isn’t making the flashy plays he made all last year that made him league MVP. Still, he was back to his efficient ways and, more importantly, had a clean game with no turnovers. This week the Ravens travel to New England, where they will face another dynamic running quarterback in Cam Newtown. We expect this to be almost as run-heavy as an Army-Navy game, with the slight edge currently in favor of the reigning MVP Lamar and the Ravens. Putting the Ravens 1st ranking rushing attack up against the league 28th worse run defense could spell major issues for Cam and company.
5. Green Bay Packers (6-2)
Looking for revenge.
The last two times the Packers faced the 49ers, they got embarrassed. The last of which came in the NFC Championship game where the 9ers gashed the Pack 20-37. So seeking some level of revenge, the Packers decided to hand the 49ers a similar ass-whooping this past Thursday, winning 34-17. Facing a depleted 9ers time, the Packers took the ball down on the very first drive of the game and scored, extending the streak of scoring points on their opening possession to 8 games. After going up early, the Packers never looked back. In this game, the Packers were able to get back Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones back from injury, but that proved to be a non-factor because Aaron Rodgers added to his MVP candidacy tossing for 300 yards and 4 TDs. It’s tough to get excited about the Packers beating up on the 9ers replacement roster, but it must feel good to them to get some sort of revenge after last year’s beatings. Rodgers and the Pack look to stay hot this week versus the 1-7 Jacksonville Jaguars.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)
On the wrong side of history.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers flat out laid an egg against the New Orleans Saints losing 38-3. In what was one the more hyped games of the years with multiple headlines surrounding the game, it turned out to be just a good ole ass whooping. Tom Brady may have had the worst game of his career, throwing for just 209 yards and 3 interceptions. Head Coach Bruce Arians decided to run the ball a measly 5 times all game to make matters worse, breaking the record for least rushing attempts in an NFL game. With the lopsided play-calling, the Saints just pinned their ears back all game and gave Brady what all quarterbacks hate, pressure right in his face. With this game being an apparent glitch in the matrix, expect Brady and company to bounce back 1000% this week. I would hate to be the team that has to face them thsm **cough cough** the Carolina Panthers.
7. Seattle Seahawks (6-2)
Contenders to Pretenders.
Seahawks came out the gate one of the leagues hottest teams thanks to the play of Russel Wilson, who leads the league in passing TDs with 25. However, weeks like last week against the Buffalo Bills have people pressing pause on their Super Bowl dreams. The elephant in the room for the Seahawks is its piss poor defense. Versus the Bills, the Seahawks allowed Josh Allen to go over 400 yards passing with 3 TDs and no picks. This performance by Allen only added to Seattle league-worst past defense on the year. With the defense playing this poorly, it is hard to ask Russell to create magic week in and week out. Something is going to have to correct itself in Seattle, or if not, the one dimensional Seahawks could be in for another long night with Aaron Donald teeing off on Wilson every snap this week.
8. Buffalo Bills (7-2)
Thanks to the 415 yard and 3 TDs by Josh Allen, the Buffalo Bills improved to 7-2, stunning the Seattle Seahawks. It was night and day how the Bills decided to move the ball compared to their previous week versus the New England Patriots, where they opted to run the ball 38 times. Nonetheless, this is the version of the Bills that we saw during the first four weeks where the Bills were very pass-oriented, and there was talk of Allen being in the MVP conversation. This chameleon act the Bills have makes them tough to gauge because they have shown the ability to beat teams convincingly by being both run-heavy and or pass-heavy. The Bills’ problem is their defense ranking just 21st against the run and 28th against the pass. Being bottom half in the league on defense is always a bad sign. To make matters worse, they have to travel to Arizona and face off against the potent offensive attack of the Kyler Murray led Cardinals. Expect points. Lots of points!
9. Tennessee Titans (6-2)
Back on track?
The Tennessee Titans bounce this past week and finally get back in the win column by defeating the Chicago Bears 24-17 after losing two straight. This was the typical Titans type of game we have grown accustomed to seeing. They were very run-heavy oriented and ask quarterback Ryan Tannehill to be very efficient. Running the ball 31 times for just 92 yards required Tannehill to make things happen via the air. While he didn’t light up the stat sheet with godly numbers, he did manage to throw 2 touchdowns and no picks. That may very well be the formula again this week because the Colts defense is the leagues best when it comes to rushing yards allowed per game. With teams focusing on Henry and slowing him down, it will be up to Tannehill to be effective and efficient, passing like he has been most of the season. If he turns the ball over and Henry cant break loose, things could get shaky for the Titans in a tough divisional matchup.
10.Los Angeles Rams (5-3)
The time is now.
The Los Angles Rams were on bye this week, resulting in another week holding the L the Miami Dolphins gave them Week 8. We’re sure the extra week to prepare will help them right the ship as they plan to face divisional foe the Seattle Seahawks. Coach McVay wills his first 15 play scripted that will more than like shred the Seahawks defense apart, but it will be up to Goff to not turn the ball over like he did the last time we saw them once things go off-script.
11. Indianapolis Colts (5-3)
The 24-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens was the first of a six-game stretch (Ravens, Titans, Packers, Titans, Texans, and Raiders) to test the validity of the Colts early season success. To the Colts credit, they were able to hang with the Ravens and neutralized Lamar Jackson in the first half, leading 10-7 at halftime. Then we suppose the Ravens locked in and then outscored the Colts 17-0 after halftime. After facing the easiest schedule for the first 9 weeks of the season, much of their success could be fools gold, hence the 2nd half collapse versus the Ravens. But this is why the Colts brought in the future Hall of Famer, Philip Rivers, to win tough playoff-style matchups like this. If that is the case, Rivers will have to do better than their current 23rd ranked offense if they hope to keep pace with their divisional for the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.
12. Arizona Cardinals (5-3)
Chinks in the armor.
The Arizona Cardinals have been one of the leagues more exciting teams to watch this year, thanks for the stellar play of second-year QB Kyler Murray. Despite his heroics, throwing for 283 yards, 3 TD and rushing for 106 yards and 1 TD, the Cardinals still managed to lose 34-31 to the Miami Dolphins. It was a typical old school shootout in the desert where defense was optional. But the lack of defense has been the issue for the Cardinals all season. Even though they rank just above the league average in pass defense, they too often have games where they can’t stop a nosebleed. Like most young teams finding a level of consistency will be critical for them moving forward. And if they play like they did last week against Tua, then they will be in for a long afternoon with Josh Allen just lighting up the Seahawks for 400 yards and 3 TDs. We could be in store for another shootout out in the desert this week.
13. San Francisco 49ers (4-5)
How the mighty have fallen.
It’s hard to imagine now, but these 49ers were just in last year’s Super Bowl. Fast forward to this season, the 9ers look to be a shell of themselves. As we discussed before, this can be attributed to the fact they have been hit by the injury bug and have been forced to play without the most projected starters in the entire league. That unfortunate fate came to a head when the Packers came in town and blew the doors of the Niners 34-17. Things will not get any easier this week as they are projected to have a backup quarterback, tight end, and receivers playing again this week against the hot New Orleans Saints. With the Saints just getting done with smacking the Buccaneers around, the prospect of the Niners hanging close in this one is low.
14. Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)
Just win baby!
Don’t look now, but the Raiders are now 5-3. After years of disappointing seasons, head coach Jon Gruden has the team rollin’. Week to week, we’re not sure the type of team that will show up or how they will attack, but the bottom line is that they are winning. Just this past week, it took a final second pass breakup to clinch a dramatic victory over the Los Angles Chargers 31-26. A win is a win, but they have proven they lack the ability to dominate any facet of the game. Their defense is ranked just below average, and their offense is hit or miss. So when the faces the leagues elite, will they be able to survive?
15. Cleveland Browns (5-3)
The roller coaster continues…
The Cleveland Browns were on a bye this week, licking their wounds from the beating they received by the Las Vegas Raiders’ hands in Week 8. Still, at 5-3, the Browns have everything they wanted to accomplish this season in front of them. And to make things a bit more optimistic, they are set to have stud running back Nick Chubb back from a knee injury this week. However, if they thought the Raiders gave them fits a few weeks ago, then with Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans coming into town, they will have their hands full again.
16. Miami Dolphins (5-3)
The verdict is in, Tua is the real deal!
The training wheels are officially off rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa. His young career’s first big breakout game led to an impressive 34-31 win on the road against the Arizona Cardinals. Tua, unlikely his first game two weeks ago, seemed more aggressive and showed the dynamic playmaking ability that made him one of the top QB prospects in this year’s past draft. But outside of the newfound spark, Tua has brought to the offense, the defense is still the team’s calling card. They managed to win last week despite getting touched by Kyler Murray last week by the air and the ground. If they want to maintain their winning ways, they will need to channel the energy that currently has them ranked 8th in pass defense of the entire season. If not, they could be in for another shootout with Justin Herbert and the Chargers coming into town this week.
17. Minnesota Vikings (3-5)
Dalvin Cook has been on a tear the last two outings, helping the Vikes win their 2nd consecutive game in a row defeating the Detroit Lions 34-20. He proved to be unstoppable this past week, going for 250 plus yards from scrimmage while adding 2 more TDs. The Vikings performance over the last two weeks has some believing they can make a legitimate run for the playoffs during the second half of the season. Mainly due to the play of Cook, but more surprisingly because of their defense, who initially struggled with injuries and inexperience, has stepped up the past few weeks as well. Now we believe this success can and only will continue due to their upcoming schedule. Playing teams like the Bears (this week), Cowboys, Panthers, and Jaguars, you can easily find yourself 4-0 and right back into the mix of things. But don’t let any immediate future success fool you. This team doesn’t stack up with the league’s elite just yet. Good teams will force Cousins to beat them instead of Cook.
18. New England Patriots (3-5)
Bounce back like elastic.
The New England Patriots didn’t want to be the team that finally let the New York Jets in the winner circle. Also, they needed to stop the bleeding themselves and end their own 4 game losing streak. With a more effective and efficient performance from QB Cam Newton, the Patriots were able to get back on track, winning, 30-27. Unfortunately for the Patriots, it turned out to be closer than expected and required a game-winning field in the final seconds to fend off the winless Jets. The one issue that they were able to correct was the play of Cam Newton, who managed not to turn the ball over this time for the first time in 5 games. However, the other issues that continue to plague them all season were still present. For instance, if they plan on salvaging their season, they will need to figure out how to correct their 28th ranked rushing defense quickly because, with the league’s best rushing attack (Ravens) and running quarterback (Lamar) coming in town, they could be in for a long night.
19. Atlanta Falcons (3-5)
Dirty Birds Back?
Another week under interim head coach Raheem Morris and things continue to trend in the right direction. With a 34-27 win over the Denver Broncos, the Atlanta Falcons have quietly moved to 3-1 under coach Raheem Morris. What has become apparent is that everyone on the team has elevated their play during this span. For instance, Matt Ryan looks like Matt Ryan again. Still not in his former MVP form, but he is now completing 70% of his pass the last four games with just 2 INTs. But even more impressive has been the overall defensive improvement. Since their 0-5 start where they were initially allowed 32 points per game, they now are only allowing 23 points per game over the last 4 games. Many people expect the Falcons to make a late-season push, but without some of their vital defensive guys, we find it hard to believe they can fully recover from the 0-5 start.
20. Chicago Bears (5-4)
We told you guys a few ago that the Bears were probably the most illegitimate 5-1 team ever. Fast forward 3 weeks later, and the team has now lost 3 games in a row, with the latest loss coming from the Tennessee Titans 24-17. It’s more of the same issues for the Bears, the offensive woes. They are basically is struggling with executing simple play due to their inefficiencies at the offensive line position. The Bears gave up 3 more sacks, bringing their total to 12 in the past 3 games alone, which ranks them dead last. The one bright spot has been the defense who just held All-Pro Derek Henry to only 3.2 yards per carry last week and overall rank 4th in pass defense. With the Minnesota Vikings coming into town on Monday night, the game plan for this is relatively simple; stop Dalvin Cook. But even if they can slow him down, the primary test comes on the offensive end and if they can figure out how to keep Nick Foles off his back.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1)
Time to fly high?
The Philadelphia Eagles were on bye this past weekend. However, while on bye, they saw their closest oppositions in the NFC East (Cowboys and The Football Team) lose, creating a little more cushion for the #1 divisional spot. With the team expecting RB Mile Sanders back from injury and WR Alshon Jeffery expected to make his first appearance of the season, they finally look to be the team they appeared to be on paper at the beginning of the season. Regardless of finally getting healthy, the team’s success or downfall fall depends on how well Wentz and the offense play. They are currently 1st in sacks allowed and 2nd in committed turnovers. And it those statistics continue at their current rate, expect more disappointing performances.
22. Los Angeles Chargers (2-6)
Upon further review!
The last few weeks, we looked into the late-game collapses and blown leads the Chargers have been plagued with this season. Fast forward to this past weekend, they managed not to blow a lead but still suffered another heartbreaker losing 31-26 to the Las Vegas Raiders. This time, they tried to play the role of spoiler, coming back from a 28-17 deficit. Down by 5 points and with just 1 second left, rookie sensation QB Justin Herbert lofted a beautiful pass to tight end Donald Parham Jr., in the back of the endzone. It was initially ruled a touchdown, but it was deemed an incompletion giving the Chargers yet another taste of defeat upon further review. At this point, they have lost 6 games by a combined 24 points so far this season. As mentioned before, in a season filled with tough losses, Herbert has proven to be the lone bright spot, but they have to find ways to finish better. Typically and unfortunately for Anthony Lynn, coaches take much of the blame for trends like this.
23. Denver Broncos (3-5)
The evaluation continues.
After an impressive dramatic comeback victory the week prior versus the Los Angles Chargers, the Denver Broncos failed to build on that momentum and fell to the streaking Atlanta Falcons 34-27. Now sitting at 3-5 and being completely honest with themselves, the Broncos should know that this year isn’t the year they will win a Super Bowl. But this year instead has morphed into the springboard for next season. And the player under the most crucial microscope of evaluation sits QB Drew Locke. Last week’s comeback win versus rookie Justin Herbert and the Chargers is the version of the Lock the Broncos would love to see more often. However, this past week’s performance is the one they would hope to avoid. Lock has continued to look like a deer in headlights in the 1st half of games and finally settles in 2nd half already trialing. The kid can throw the ball, but if the Broncos wants to hand the keys over to him for the long haul, he needs to find ways to be consistent. A test versus divisional rival the Las Vegas Raiders will be his next test to prove himself.
24. Houston Texans (2-6)
Better had won…
From a talent perspective, the Texans can go player for player with some of the leagues better teams. So when facing inferior teams like the Jaguars this past week, we expect them to win even despite their shortcomings this season. They were able to get the 27-25 victory to their credit, but it was far from convincing. The mediocre performance and overall lack of success can simply be attributed to the lack of legitimate defense this year. QB Deshaun Waston has been making the best of a bad situation, but when his defense ranks bottom 5 in yards and points allowed, there is only so much one man can overcome. With the lack of defense, expect more shootouts from the Texans. This week versus the Browns is shaping up to be another barn burner is the weather permits.
25. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1)
Scratching the surface.
The Bengals were on a bye this past week but are set to kick off the 2nd half of their season versus the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. Tough match for the Bengals but with a week off, they look to build on the success rookie Joe Burrow has been able to garner so far this season. Joe is clearly the front runner for rookie of the year and can maintain his lead with a solid showing this week versus a dominant opponent. Keep an eye out for RB Joe Mixon during the 2nd half of their season. If he can come back healthy, he can give them a much-needed and make their games even more competitive.
26. Carolina Panthers (3-6)
Back but out again.
All-Pro Christian McCaffery made his return to the Panthers lineup this past week. His presence was clearly felt and helped the team muster up a respectable outing versus the Kansas City Chiefs by only losing 31-33. CMC was back to his all-purpose ways recording both a rushing and receiving touchdown. Unfortunately for him and the Panthers, McCaffery left the end of the game with a banged-up shoulder. So banged up that the Panthers are opting to leave him out of this week’s matchup versus Tampa Buccaneers. This probably is best for him and the Panthers because facing a pissed off Tom Brady team might not be in your best interest. This could very well be a blowout if McCaffery was anticipated to play, but without him, for sure, the Panthers are in for a long afternoon of football.
27. Detroit Lions (2-5-1)
If there ever was a time you could accurately blame coaching as to why a team lost, it is evident with this year’s Detroit Lions. Their Achilles heel showed its ugly head this past weekend in the 34-20 loss the Minnesota Vikings. It’s the little things that are killing the Lions, like lining up with 10 people versus the standard 11. It’s already hard enough to win games in this league, but if you consistently have plays with just 10 people on defense it’s next to impossible to win. Dalvin Cook made them pay for one of these mistakes by taking a run 70 yards for a score. When shit like that happens, you only have to blame the men responsible for organizing the men on the field. They are the ones who are supposed to put the players in a position to succeed. Matt Patricia your seat is getting hot sir.
28. Washington Football Team (2-6)
Alex, you’re up!
In a league that prides itself on the ‘next man up’ mantra, the Washington Football Team is now turning the offense’s keys over to the comeback man himself, Alex Smith. If you haven’t heard already, Alex will be making his first start since 2018 after Kyle Allen dislocated and fractured his ankle in the 23-20 loss to the New York Giants. The Football Teams season and year has been filled with more headlines than wins, but this Alex Smith redemption story is the 2nd most positive news the franchise has had (1st being Head Coach Ron Rivera completing cancer treatment a few weeks ago). To be frank, in mop-up duty last week, Alex looked a little rusty, which should be expected after almost becoming an amputee, but with a full week a preparation as the starter, maybe he could be the spark that gets the Football Team rolling.
29. Dallas Cowboys (2-7)
Always makes it interesting.
We may have never witnessed a more interesting 2-7 team than we have with this year’s Dallas Cowboys. Every week there seems to be something new surrounding this team. This past week it was the Dallas Cowboys giving the only undefeated team in the NFL a run for their money. Starting their 4th string QB Garrett Gilbert, the Cowboys actually came within a last-second heave from taking down the Pittsburgh Steelers. But in classic Cowboys fashion, it ended in another disappointing loss. Heading into a bye week, Coach McCarthy may opt to keep Garrett under center moving forward as he provided the Cowboys offensive life they haven’t seen since Dak Prescott’s season-ending injury in week 5. Regardless of the route they opt to take QB-wise, at 2-7, they are still just 1 game out in the win column from the #1 spot in the NFC East, so don’t expect Cowboys fans to zip it anytime soon.
30. New York Giants (2-7)
Gotta take the good with the bad.
It’s funny to say aloud, but the Giants moving to 2-7 after upsetting the Washington Football Team was a huge win for their playoff hopes. Securing their 2nd win of the season technically has them in last place in the NFC East still but yet ties them with the Cowboys and Football Team in the win column, all of which are just one game behind the Eagles. To be honest, even though their playoff window is still surprisingly open, a playoff birth is not something we would bet the house on. But the silver lining is that Giant fans can be proud of Daniel Jones, who continued to make big-time throws and managed to not throw an interception this past outing. He still found a way to fumble twice, but those were eventually recovered and not recorded as a turnover. If Giant’s stock was for sale, it would be a hard buy, but if Jones continues to flash potential and if their defense stays sneakily good, 2nd in league with 15 takeaways, they could shock the world. Next up for them is essentially a huge playoff game versus the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Giants find a way to pull off that upset, then they may be worth buying into.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7)
Not too shabby…
Now the Jacksonville Jaguars are one of a handful of teams whose season outlook was already written before the season, so a week 9 27-25 lose to the Texans wasn’t surprising at all. However, what was surprising was the play of newly name starter QB Jake Luton. The 6th round rookie out of Oregon State replaced the struggling Garner Minshew after the bye week and gave the Jaguars offense a much needs spark. His 2nd throw of the game (and career) resulted in a 73 yard TD pass to DJ Chark. Outside of that, he completed about 70% of his passes for 300 yards and also showed some mobility rushing for a score too. Now granted, all of this production came against the Texans who are 3rd and 4th worst in yardage and points allowed per game respectively, so it can be taking with a grain of salt. Now we will closely monitor this kids progress as the Jags are set to go on the road against the hot Green Bay Packers this week.
32. New York Jets (0-9)
671 days and counting…
Adam Gase is still head coach for the winless New York Jets. 670 days too long. No, but in all honesty, we’ve been recommending that the Jets move on from Adam Gase, but if the Jets’ performance put together this past Monday night versus the Patriots can be bottled up and somehow replicated, then he may actually have a chance in New York. To his credit, the Jets have been riddled with injuries all season and haven’t had the opportunity to play with their projected starters all season. However, the NFL is a result business, and they still are rocking the donut in the win column. With this week off, it gives them two weeks to prepare for the now 2-6 Chargers, which will be their next best opportunity to get the monkey off their backs.
Parris Shannon writes about Sports and Pop Culture for Black With No Chaser with the occasional think piece sprinkled in his repertoire. He currently resides in Washington, D.C but comes from Philadelphia, PA by way of Atlanta, GA so can probably catch him saying “jawn” and “shawty” in the same sentence.